Monday, April 9, 2012

No Place to Hide

Three large, loud shapes suddenly crested the ridge above us.
I was crouched down, hugging onto Sylvan, who since our nursing break a little farther down the mountain, insisted on toddling along behind his sister up the path.

She, stopping to inspect the tiny white flowers that carpeted the ground announcing that spring really is present in our valley, he to pick up one rock after the other, clutching awkwardly onto three and trying to sneak one into his mouth.  I had been expecting a swift, dainty helicopter on it's way to the hospital, not the lumbering, giant, dark shapes of the Chinook helicopters. Against all common sense, my instinct was to hold onto my kids and the thought crossed my mind that there is absolutely nowhere to hide on the barren hillside; just few and far in between trees, mostly dead grasses and the new sprouting green still hugging the ground.  I laughed it off as they passed right above, and we turned to watch them grow smaller on the sky and then I said: "look Ivory, they are landing at our airport."  But she had not tracked them as close as I, and could not distinguish them from the dots that were trees and those that were slowly lowering down in formation to the distant and invisible tarmac.  We slowly wandered up higher, Sylvan setting the pace and Ivory running ahead choosing the perfect rock to sit and wait for us to catch up.  I have no idea what mother's must feel walking with their children in places where flying objects cresting mountain ridges are not those of their own military.

Today is the last day of our spring break, and I decided we would finally climb the "mountain".  I finished the breakfast dishes, swept the floors, put away the laundry and started a load of diapers and by ten, amazingly, we were in the car and drove to the trail head for Waterworks hill which is just on the outside of our neighborhood.  Even though the trail head is close, I have learned that the drive really is necessary if I want to make it up the hill at all.

We didn't make it to the top.  We almost made it to the top, but Ivory's belly said it was hungry and her legs that they were tired and I listened to them and we turned around just shy of what had been my goal of reaching the peak and soaking in the views of two valleys at once.  Instead we traced our path back down, Ivory stopping often, Sylvan wrapped up snug against my chest sound asleep.  But, she was still laughing, still stopping to listen to the birds, and even though she said: "Mama, I never, ever want to walk up this mountain again",  I know that her curiosity will be enough to have her asking to come again - soon - after all, we have to see what flowers all those rosettes of green leaves will send up.

I strapped Sylvan into his seat, Ivory into her's and we drove to pick up milk, cottage cheese and pears. (Milk and cottage cheese being needed and pears the bribe to make it to the grocery store before heading home for lunch.) Singing along to the radio, I absentmindedly glanced at the clock: 12:38.  I was surprised.  We had spent at least two and a half hours in the wind and sunshine.  No wonder belly's were hungry and legs tired...  and, now that I thought about it,  oh, how I had to go to the bathroom.

When we walked up to the house, Adam was sitting outside, finishing up his lunch at the picnic table.  "Did you see those helicopters?", I asked, knowing that he most likely had.  They would have flown right over him too, but maybe he would not of noticed them over the drone of the saw mill, but he had.  I tried to explain that instant of bone chilling fear I had experienced, and failed.  His impulse and mine at the same sight being just too different.  In spite of all the sunshine, bird song and laughter, a feeling lingers at the edges of my heart, that some other mother, in some other moment, on some other hillside  is reaching out for her children with no place to hide.

1 comment:

  1. Wow. True, that hill is 100% exposed. I do miss running those trails, watching spring edge a little closer to blooming every day.